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Cutting a main gear wheel
Cutting a main gear wheel

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eriskay



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Registered: March 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,043
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A view showing the cutting of a large diameter main gear wheel - precision work of necessity.
· Date: Fri, 16 April 10 · Views: 548
· Tags: 2 · Filesize: 145.8kb, 146.0kb · Dimensions: 1024 x 773 ·
Additional Info
Keywords: Cutting main gear wheel
Source of Image, If not your own: from an old RWG brochure
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K urgess
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Registered: August 2006
Posts: 83
Fri, 16 April 10 15:03

Please supply details of the publication(s) these were taken from so that the source can be acknowledged.
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eriskay

Senior Member

Registered: March 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,043
Fri, 16 April 10 16:15

Oops - sorry. All from same source as previous postings, i.e. an old Company brochure, circa 1959. Is there any way of editing postings once made? Not seeing a way of doing that.

Previous acknowledgement notation used : (from an old RWG brochure)
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non descript
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Registered: November 2005
Posts: 48
Fri, 16 April 10 17:07

All sorted and edited now...

FYG it is not easy to spot, but on the Right of the picture there is a wee box called "Photo Options" and this produces a pull down menu, where there is "Edit". NB. With certain browers you may need to click it twice to make it open..
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non descript
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Registered: November 2005
Posts: 48
Fri, 16 April 10 17:44

Ooops... my learned friend tells me that this option maybe not available - my apologies for misleading you. For now, please shout and we will fix it for you.
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gordy
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Registered: April 2008
Location: Helensburgh
Posts: 1,656
Thu, 22 April 10 05:08

Another great picture, really shows the scale of things. I hope the skilled man got well rewarded for his efforts.
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japottinger

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Registered: June 2004
Location: Bridge of Don, Aberdeen
Posts: 8,351
Fri, 23 April 10 15:47

Did David Rowan not also have a gear cutting m/c?
When we stripped the main gear wheel on Brocklebank SS Manipur at Newport the main wheel and mating wheels were sent up to DR. possibly they subcontracted to Fairfield.
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eriskay

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Registered: March 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,043
Fri, 7 May 10 02:32

With reference to the Tonga comments above, and in particular his comment "Ooops... my learned friend tells me that this option maybe not available", subsequent experience has shown that the edit facility under 'Photo Options' is indeed functional and available.
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Jim S
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Registered: January 2006
Location: kingswells
Posts: 1,385
Fri, 7 May 10 17:41

In his excellent book on Clyde shipbuilding - Ironfighters, Outfitters and Bowler Hatters, George O'Hara describes the situation of the amalgamation of the Fairfield Engine Works with that of David Rowan in the early 1960's. Both Fairfield and David Rowan had been part of the Lithgow Group since 1935 but until the amalgamation that saw the combined engine works as Fairfield-Rowan they both had operated independently. Part of Rowan's more modern plant was transferred to Fairfield. Towards the end of 1965 the shipyard and engine works were put into receivership. The next part of the story obviously saddened the author as Fairfield-Rowan never reopened and its assets comprising the finest array of machine tools on the upper Clyde were taken over by the Sheffield company TW Ward Ltd who gradually denuded the site including "probably the best gear-cutting equipment in Scotland". The shipyard itself did reopen in 1966. Apart from building steam turbines and boilers David Rowan built Sulzer and Doxford engines under licence. Fairfield Engine works also built steam plant and was a licensee for Sulzer and Stork diesel engines.
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gordy
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Registered: April 2008
Location: Helensburgh
Posts: 1,656
Sat, 8 May 10 14:51

Strictly speaking the shipyard didn't close. As a 5th year apprentice I worked for Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineeering Co. Ltd on a Friday afternoon, and the following Monday I was working for Fairfield Glasgow, and received 25 redundancy money! If I recall I was in for the sunday double bubble!
On a sadder note, the Engine Shop Stewards fought a brave fight along with all other trades to keep the whole enterprise alive. When a mass meeting was held in the engine shop to break the news of the closure, somebody proposed a vote of sincere thanks to the union officials for their efforts. They were presented with gifts for their long suffering wives due to the amount of time these men had spent shuttling back and forth to London during the negotiations. The site of one of these mature and much respected officials breaking down emotionally has stayed with me forever.
Once a Fairfield man always a Fairfield man.
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Jim S
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Registered: January 2006
Location: kingswells
Posts: 1,385
Sat, 8 May 10 16:53

Again in the book Ironfighters Outfitters and Bowler Hatters the author gives great credit to Mr Jamieson and Mr Airlie the engine shop conveners for their efforts to try to retain the combined facilities which they did forcefully and with great dignity.
I take it these are the union officials referred to by "Gordy".
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eriskay

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Registered: March 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,043
Sun, 9 May 10 15:16

Yes - one of those occasions, and there were not many, when the Unions came out looking good, and deservedly so.

Agree Fairfield was arguably the top Yard on the Clyde, and given the quality of some of the others that is saying a lot.

The George O' Hara 'story' is so much more than a statistical record of Clyde shipbuilding, his perception of the industry is a first class history lesson and he pulls no punches when it come to attributing cause and blame for the demise of the Clyde shipyards.
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gordy
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Registered: April 2008
Location: Helensburgh
Posts: 1,656
Sun, 9 May 10 15:51

In the 1st year of my time I went round to Alec Jamiesons lathe with my journeyman to fit the rubbing band to a Sulzer piston. Alec was a true gentleman, and I always enjoyed a blether with him. He had great patience with daft young apprentices, and I think my belief in the need for unionisation of working people came from his methods of dealing with problems in the engine works. In my 5 years there, there was never a strike, only one 10 day 'work in' due to an enforced bonus system that was going to result in a real loss of earnings to some of the workforce. We came to work every day willing to work on the old system until the new one was sorted out, and the outcome was successful.
In my 5th year I was Jimmy Airlies apprentice in the fitting out basin. Jimmy was busy with union work all the time so his 'jobs' were never too demanding so I was left to do them myself!
Great days for a boy.
I'm going to get a copy of that book Jim S :-)
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Joe Freeman
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Registered: January 2007
Posts: 378
Fri, 14 May 10 23:50

In response to the various comments above, firstly David Rowans did have a gear-cutting machine at the North end of the West works diesel shop and I believe it was in a temperature controlled room. I never exactly saw this machine, however I did work on several of the pinions and main wheels that came out onto the shop floor. There was also a deep pit in the West works where the outer rings were shrunk onto the main wheel and also where Doxford cranks were heat shrunk assembled. During my time there one 72SAD type Sulzer and several RD76 five and six cylinder engines were produced there. Latterly a six cylinder Stork Hotlo 75/160 engine for Mv Sidonia was assembled and tested in the diesel shop sometime in 1963/4. This Stork engine was an exchange engine from Fairfields as the 10RD76 for Mv Benvalla that Rowans was contracted to build and test could not be tested there for two very good reasons. Firstly the Hennin & Froude dynamometer was only capable of testing up to 12,000.BHP and also the city cooling water supply was inadequate for that size of engine. There is a very good picture of this engine on the test bed at Fairfields in the 1963 April edition of Motorship Magazine. Rowans also had a very large twin head milling machine made by Asquith and I could be corrected on this make. The last Doxford was completed in 1959, however many replacement cylinder liners and pistons were being manufactured and repaired probably right up until the works closed.
The original works were on the East side of Elliot street where the old diesel shop was along with the boiler shop, fitting shop, turbine gallery and turbine assembly pit. The machinery in the various machine shops was so old and I remember some of the turners had to compensate for the wear on the machine ways. There was also a valve shop near the corner of Stobcross Street and Elliot Street.
There is a good picture in O'Hara's book of a steam turbine being assembled in the turbine pit, the riggers name was Jimmy the Gurka who always smoked an old greasy pipe.
I remember seeing a triple expansion steam being loaded onto a Pickford's flatbed in 1960, probably the last steam engine built there or possibly one in for repair but it seemed quite new to me.
When I was transferred over to Fairfields in 1964 the amalgamation with Rowans was being finalized but the machinery at Rowans was gradually being dismantled and shipped South by Ward's.
David Rowans would have been in business for almost 100 years as the company was established in 1866. the last engine order number was 1343.
I am proud to have been a part of this company and the experience gained during the five years that I worked there has stood me in good stead throughout the rest of my career.
Joe.
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